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Tiger in the Garden, Elephant at the Gate: Three Zoonimal Narratives

花園裡的老虎,門口的大象:三篇有關動物園動物的敘述

Abstracts


Although zoos are popular with the general public, zoo animals rarely appear in literature as active individualized agents who assert their existence beyond serving as metaphor. Three narratives set in Asia focus on the "zoonimal" in an attempt to show it accruing cultural significance particular to itself. The stories invest various zoonimals with biographies; two of them integrate the animal as a bearer of its own meaning in human history, while the third posits a range of intimate human-animal relationships to de-center that history. Phillip Jeyaretnam's short story "Painting the Tiger" (2014), Yann Martel's novel Life of Pi (2001), and Wu Ming-yi's The Stolen Bicycle (Dānchē shīqie ji單車失竊記2015) all foreground Asian zoonimals and challenge John Berger's contention that zoos present only the marginalization of animals in modern society. Wu's novel is particularly successful in establishing parity between animals and humans through mutual acknowledgement of each other's suffering. It also presents a new paradigm of a regional narrative fully inclusive of the region's biota that is both a necessary component of the plot as well as a significant contributor to a sense of cultural identity related to place.

Parallel abstracts


雖然一般大眾對動物園非常熟悉,但是動物園中的動物鮮少在文學作品中具有能動性個體出現,頂多只是隱喻而已。本文將討論三篇亞洲作品中的動物園動物,來討論其深具文化意涵。這三篇作品皆將動物立傳,其中二篇更彰顯在人類歷史的貢獻,而第三篇更探討人與動物密切關係來呈現人類歷史去中心化的趨勢。菲利.惹耶勒南2014年的短篇故事《描繪一隻老虎》,楊.馬泰爾2001《少年Pi的奇幻漂流》以及吳明益2015《單車失竊記》皆將亞洲動物園動物呈現為故事主角,而挑戰約翰.伯格所主張動物園在現代社會只淪為邊緣化動物的收留所。吳明益小說尤其成功的藉由人與動物共同苦難,而建立互助關係,呈現亞洲區域文學中一個新典範。換言之,即必須重視並包含地區中的動植物敘述以開啟在地性文化認同的新領域。

References


Armstrong, Philip. What Animals Mean in the Fiction of Modernity. Routledge, 2007.
Bateson, Gregory. Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity. Dutton, 1979.
Bender, Daniel. The Animal Game. Harvard UP, 2016.
Berger, John. “Why Look at Animals?” About Looking (1977). Reprint. Vintage Books, 1980, pp. 3-28.
Chua, Kevin. “The Tiger and the Theodolite: George Coleman’s Dream of Extinction.” Forum on Contemporary Art & Society, vol. 6, 2007, pp. 124-49.

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